The Cooperative Research Centres Association is a not-for-profit organisation operating to promote the pursuit of science, particularly through the Australian Government’s CRC Program.

You don’t have to be a CRC to join, find out more about our types of membership and benefits of joining the association.

The Longitude Prize – a new (old) way to stimulate innovation

Commentary by Tony Peacock, CRC Association

The British public has voted for antibiotic resistance research to be the subject of the “first” Longitude Prize. The Longitude Prize 2014 is a prize fund of £10 million to tackle one of the biggest issues facing humanity, with the British public voting for antibiotic resistance over the field that also included flight, food, paralysis, water and dementia. The Longitude Prize 2014 commemorates the 300th anniversary of the Longitude Act of 1714, which was eventually awarded in 1765 to John Harrison for his chronometer (as well as sparking many other innovations).

The announcement of the public vote was made live on the BBC by British Prime Minister, David Cameron last month. The award is administered by the innovation charity Nesta, with the prize fund being put up by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board. Lord Rees, the English Astronomer Royal, chairs the Longitude Committee, which is still working out final rules for awarding the prize.

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The Mining Equipment Technology and Services (METS)

The Mining Equipment Technology and Services (METS) now vies with gold as Australia’s third largest export from the mining sector, behind iron ore and coal. Anyone that thinks Australia’s mining prosperity relies on  plain luck and that the country just “shovels stuff out of the ground” displays an astounding level of ignorance. Mining is a knowledge industry and Cooperative Research Centres are making a significant contribution.

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Tony Peacock and Alex Sloan (666 ABC) discuss DET CRC’s Lab-at-Rig with James Cleverley

The Australia-US Alliance in an Emerging Asia

The US Study Centre at the University of Sydney convened a large meeting  in Canberra last week, to review the state of the Alliance. Research and innovation was significantly discussed as a major beneficiary of the  relationship.
The Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, pointed out that
Australia and the USA have collaborated on space research for over 50
years. The new Space Environment Management CRC will further that
relationship over the coming five years.

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Government outlines Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme

The Department of Industry has released a Discussion Paper seeking input to the proposed Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme announced in the May Budget. The paper can be accessed here and businesses are invited to give their feedback during June. The rush to give feedback is because the Programme is due to commence operations from 1 July.

The “new” Programme looks very much like a consolidation of parts of Enterprise Connect and Commercialisation Australia. The three streams are yet to be completely finalised, but in summary are:

  • Business Management (due to commence 1 July 2014) offers business advice under matching arrangements;
  • Research Connections (due to commence 1 September 2014) offers matching funding to $50,000 for researcher placement into businesses;
  • Commercialising Ideas (due to commence from 1 November 2014) offers matching funding to $250,000 for evaluation and commercialisation of ideas.

I have to admit to a sense of considerable disappointment on reading the Discussion Paper.

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Conference and Budget Reflections

Innovating with Asia 2014, the CRC Association’s annual conference just held in Perth, was a resounding success.

Naturally, there was uncertainty in the air at this year’s conference
after the recent announcement of an $80 million reduction in the CRC
Program.  The Hon. Bob Baldwin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, gave the audience a significant confidence boost when he announced—at the awards dinner—the government’s commitment to CRCs and that there will be a Round 18.

From my understanding, Mr Baldwin’s comments should not be interpreted as simply “business as usual”. He was reflecting that the government maintains a significant budget for the CRC Program in the forward estimates. However, there is a Review of the program to come and one would expect changes that reflect the views and priorities of the new Australian government.

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Innovating with Asia 2014 photos

The photos for the Excellence in Innovation Awards Dinner and the Slatyer Lecture are in. Click here to download the photos individually or as a whole ( Zip File)

The Hon. Bob Hawke delivers Address at CRC Association Conference

The Hon. Bob Hawke recently delivered the prestigious Ralph Slatyer Address on Science and Society at the 2014 CRC Association conference in Perth.

Click here to read Mr Hawke’s address.

CRC Program cut by $80 million

Staley: “Disappointing, but we have the chance to prove ourselves”

The Commonwealth Budget has included a cut to the Cooperative Research Centre Program of $80 million over the forward estimates. The current funding round will not proceed as planned with only continuing CRCs able to apply for funding at the 3 July deadline. Funding for the following two years of new CRCs will be affected, but the extent is not yet clear. The future of the Program will be determined following a review, which was already scheduled to be conducted this year.

“Obviously it is bad news” said CRC Association CEO Tony Peacock last night. “I hoped we had done enough to show the Government the value of the CRCs, and I do believe they understand its value. CRCs deliver applied research that has been demonstrated to boost GDP”.

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Keep CRCs industry-focussed: overwhelming response

The Commission of Audit’s recommendation to fold the Cooperative Research Centre Program into the Australian Research Council’s Industry Linkage Program has met strong resistance from industry and academia alike. The Commission made the recommendation in last week’s report based on “efficiency” grounds because the two Programs had the same objectives.

“But the CRC Program and the ARC Linkage Program are different” says Tony Peacock, CEO of the CRC Association.

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Response to the Commission of Audit

The Cooperative Research Centres Association is profoundly shocked by the Commission of Audit’s recommendation to abolish the CRC Program, rolling funds into the Australian Research Council’s Industry Linkage Program.

“I can’t for a minute believe that Government will take on this recommendation” said Chairman of the CRC Association, the Hon Tony Staley AO.

“Cooperative Research Centres have very clearly given the Australian taxpayers outstanding value for money” said Mr Staley this afternoon.

“It is very interesting that the Commissioners have commented in making this recommendation that the ARC should take on longer funding periods. That’s one of the features that has made CRCs so successful – seven years of funding to let researchers get on with the job”.

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